Palestinian economy 'severely hindered' by Israeli restrictions

Palestinian economy 'severely hindered' by Israeli restrictions
The International Monetary Fund estimates Palestine's per capita GDP could have grown by up to 130 percent over the last two decades
1 min read
08 September, 2016
IMF says restrictions on movement and political uncertainty are stifling growth [Getty]
Palestine’s economic growth has been "severely hindered" by Israeli restrictions and political uncertainty, according to the world's foremost financial institutions.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that without restrictions on movement, Palestine’s per capita GDP since 1994 would have been between 37 and 130 percent higher.

Its report, released ahead of a meeting of donor country representatives later this month, comes amid a continued deadlock in attempts to negotiate terms of a Palestinian statehood.

Aid to Palestinians is declining, the report adds, and warns the Palestinian self-rule government faces a funding gap of almost $500 million this year, or 3.5 percent of GDP.

On Tuesday, the UN development agency said if the Israeli occupation were lifted, the Palestinian economy could easily double, while sky-high unemployment and poverty would plummet.

UNCTAD pointed to a list of ways the Israeli occupation stifled the economies of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the confiscation of Palestinian land, water and other natural resources.

The widespread restrictions on the movement of people and goods, destruction of homes, trees and other assets, and the expansion of Israeli settlements were also damaging, it said.

Israel, which still directly occupies Palestinian territories in the West Bank and blockades Gaza, puts the movement restrictions down to security measures.